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With liftoff set for 13 December, Europe’s first Meteosat Third Generation Imager (MTG-I1) satellite has been placed within the Ariane 5 rocket’s fairing, which protects the satellite during the first part of the launch. The fairing also houses two ‘co-passenger’ satellites: Intelsat Galaxy 35 and 36. Once in geostationary orbit, 36,000 km above the equator, the all-new MTG-I1 weather satellite will provide state-of-the art observations of Earth’s atmosphere and realtime monitoring of lightning events, taking weather forecasting to the next level. MTGI-1 carries two completely new instrument that will deliver high-quality data to improve weather forecasts: a Flexible Combined Imager and Europe’s first Lightning Imager. The Flexible Combined Imager has more spectral channels and is capable of imaging in higher resolution compared to current Meteosat Second Generation’s Spinning Enhanced Visible and Infrared instrument. The Lightning Imager offers a completely new capability for European meteorological satellites. It will continuously monitor more than 80% of the Earth disc for lightning discharges, taking place either between clouds or between clouds and the ground. This new instrument will allow severe storms to be detected in their early stages and will therefore be key for issuing timely warnings. Its detectors are so sensitive that will be able to detect relatively weak lightning, even in full daylight.